Case Studies

Arup and MAPS: Empowering our people to deliver exceptional client service with less effort

The User – Who Is Arup? 

Arup is a globally renowned engineering and design firm, leading the way in innovation for over 70 years. Our Advisory Services team offers project and programme management (PPM) advisory services to clients across various sectors, including infrastructure, buildings and energy. Comprising over 1,000 consultants worldwide, we are dedicated to delivering high-quality services that meet our clients’ diverse needs. 

The Challenge 

The MAPS project is designed to foster consistency, excellence and continuous improvement in our advisory services. Our aim is to leverage our collective experience and best practices for the benefit of our clients. To meet the challenge of providing resilient, sector-leading advisory services and capabilities, we embraced a new approach to integrating knowledge, delivery and assurance. 

This initiative addresses the widespread challenge faced by global professional service firms: scaling and delivering services consistently across vast, diverse communities of practice. By shifting our values to reward contributions to our collective knowledge, we’ve been able to codify our delivery playbooks and harmonise knowledge on a global scale. 

The Role of Method Grid – Our Solution 

Arup’s founding goal, to perform our work “as well as it can be done,” remains as pertinent today as ever. It is crucial for addressing the global challenges faced by our society and clients. This goal drives us to ensure our clients benefit from our collective global expertise and fosters connections among our consultants worldwide, enhancing our Advisory Services. 

MAPS is a digital platform that delineates and assures our delivery methods. Through Method Grid, we have integrated knowledge, delivery and assurance into a cohesive playbook, customisable for each project. 

This approach enables our consultants to innovate and tailor bespoke playbook instances for each client commission, ensuring our services are precisely adapted to meet clients’ needs. The delivery teams utilise these instances to access knowledge, assign responsibilities, track delivery and ensure compliance, thereby embodying our commitment to excellence. 

Feedback from our consultants, across all levels and tenures, has been overwhelmingly positive. The continued global collaboration to enhance our playbook is equally rewarding, demonstrating our consultants’ innovative spirit through the development of new playbooks addressing industry-specific challenges. 

The Implementation Process 

Implementing MAPS involved a phased strategy for developing and deploying the toolkit. We began with a kickoff to ensure a successful start, transferring Method Grid capabilities to the project team. We established playbook content and templates, conducted internal quality reviews and engaged early adopters to gain momentum. Through testing and pilot projects, including scenario-based user testing and early project team pilots, we refined our approach. Content development, supported by Method Grid, focused on creating a robust project structure and a comprehensive change management strategy, defining roles, responsibilities, governance and communication plans. A dedicated training plan was developed to ensure effective utilisation of the toolkit, integrating MAPS changes within the organisation for optimal impact. 

Content development was a meticulous process, involving multiple iterations and input from sponsors, subject matter experts and users to ensure the content was consistent, coherent and relevant. Our aim was to create a digital playbook reflecting our collective expertise, customisable for each client’s unique needs. 

The Method Hub, established as part of the implementation, serves as a central support function within Arup’s Advisory Services. It promotes ongoing development, thought leadership and the necessary support to consistently deliver exceptional client service. The Method Hub offers a suite of core services, including method and standards maintenance, assurance and compliance insights, training and super user community management. Its operating model is designed to foster intellectual property (IP) development growth and can be scaled to incorporate additional methods and toolkits within Advisory Services, avoiding duplication and minimising variation risks. This blueprint can also support other areas of Arup in developing method-based IP. 

The Benefits/Results 

The MAPS platform enables a tailored yet efficient approach to meeting client needs, ensuring consistent service delivery across the global Arup Group. Clients benefit from the ability to customise the playbook while accessing Arup’s premier expertise and knowledge. 

The positive impact on our employees is evident through their feedback and enthusiasm for using and applying the tool. Our colleagues are actively engaging with the knowledge and benefits offered by MAPS. 

The MAPS Playbook has become an invaluable resource for Arup’s PPM community, offering numerous benefits to enhance project effectiveness and profitability. With greater clarity and consistency in service delivery, our team members can better understand and meet client expectations, leading to improved satisfaction and retention. 

The toolkit has also streamlined project mobilisation, establishing solid governance foundations. It reduces the time spent searching for relevant materials, saving time for both junior and senior staff, thereby improving project effectiveness and profitability. Moreover, it enhances team member productivity by allowing them to focus on applying knowledge rather than searching for it. 

In conclusion, the MAPS Toolkit is a pivotal asset for Arup’s PPM community, fostering project effectiveness, reducing inefficiencies and cultivating an engaged, skilled community of practice.

Client Feedback – Arup

You can listen to one of the architects of MAPS, Arups’s former Associate – Information Management, Programme and Project Management Dave Marks, discuss the project in this video:

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